Along with many other fans, my winter of Reds discontent reached new heights of frustration when news broke that the Milwaukee Brewers had completed a trade to acquire budding outfield superstar Christian Yelich from the Marlins. 

My frustration wasn’t boiling over simply because the Brewers had succeeded where the Reds apparently had come up short. Multiple sources have reported the Marlins wanted Nick Senzel or Hunter Greene as the headliner in any deal which would have put Yelich into a Reds uniform. The Reds reluctance to give up either of those prospects along with two or three other highly regarded prospects for a single player, even Yelich, is understandable.

No, my primary frustration is that, like the Cardinals, yet another team in the Reds division is doing what they need to do to improve while the Reds seemingly continue to sit on their hands through another off season. On the heels of four empty seasons allegedly spent rebuilding, what are the Reds waiting on? Here’s  a possible explanation.

First and foremost, the Reds are waiting on development of their pitching.  They appear committed to having a largely home grown starting pitching staff functioning at the MLB level before they take the deep dive into significant free agent signings or trade acquisitions to bolster their position player line up.

The good news is the Reds have more than a full rotation worth of highly-touted pitching prospects on the cusp looking to join Luis Castillo and any of the injury-plagued trio of Homer Bailey, Anthony DeSclafani, and Brandon Finnegan who can get  healthy.  The less happy news is that over the last two seasons, the Reds have had very little success in finishing the development of their home grown pitching prospects. How this group performs in 2018 will go a long way toward determining whether next off season or perhaps even later is the year the Reds are finally ready to make bold off season moves.

Another factor which may be holding the Reds back is the current development level of the projected high-ceiling prospects in their minor league system. Given the current ages or service time levels of multiple position players on the Reds MLB roster, several current top-tier minor league prospects are going to be key pieces either on the field for the Reds or in deals to bring needed MLB level talent to the team. While in recent weeks both Baseball America and ESPN have ranked the Reds farm system in their top 10, much of the best Reds minor league positional talent will be at class AA or lower when the 2018 season begins. Have look at Doug Gray’s Reds top prospect list or the top Reds prospects list.

Second baseman Shed Long had an injury-abbreviated look at class AA in 2017 and is likely to start the 2018 season back at AA. Potential MLB center fielders Taylor Trammell and Jose Siri both figure to start 2018 at class A+. Catcher Tyler Stephenson hopes to make it to A+ this year after two injury plagued seasons at class A. Two highly-regarded shortstop prospects, Jose I. Garcia and Jeter Downs, are further down the chain. The Reds need to see more of all these players before deciding where and how they fit into the team future.  To trade any of them now is to risk trading the wrong man and getting less value for him to boot in the process.

Rationalizing my way through this process has gotten me back to even-keel on the Reds. I still don’t like that they’ve done nothing this off season to start picking up additional talent for current MLB performers who almost certainly are not part of a successful Reds future. It would be even better if the Reds were proactively positioning themselves for the future since that would indicate the team thought it was coming sooner rather than later.  But worst of all, I detest the feeling of waiting till next year before this year has officially started.

132 Responses

  1. doofus

    Very insightful article Jim. Thank you.

  2. Indy Red Man

    If I hit the lottery I’d start a Reds fan cemetery with the logo and a “Wait til next year” engraved below the name. It feels like that’s where we’ll all be when next year gets here:)

  3. daytonnati

    Great post, Jim. I have been waiting for the site to address the Yelich trade. I think Greene should be an untouchable, but I am not sure about anyone else, especially since Suarez seems to be a solid piece for years to come. I would feel better if I read that the Reds were test-driving Senzel in Left this spring, rather than 2nd or short where we seem fully stocked.

    • lwblogger2

      2B, yes the Reds are fully stocked there. SS? Not so much. I’m not sure Suarez could do it and even if he could be a fair defensive SS, he’s a very good defender at 3B. I’m hesitant to move him. The Reds SS depth in the minors is at low levels. They don’t really have many guys that can play there right now. I don’t think Senzel can but I do think the Reds should find out at AA/AAA this year, as well as during spring training.

      • jazzmanbbfan

        Completely agree with your hesitation on considering moving Suarez back to SS. I used to cringe when he played there before. He’s become a very good third baseman.

  4. Indy Red Man

    Surely it must’ve been Hunter Greene with Stephenson or Mahle, etc? A budding All-Star in a position of weakness for a teenager is a no-brainer unless he’s Bryce Harper or Arod or somebody.

      • Gonzo Reds

        Yelich locked up through 2022 and we’re pretty sure what he is. I’m pretty sure what Senzel and Winker will be as well so wouldn’t want to include them. I would have pulled the trigger in a heartbeat for a Greene package. Would have tried to avoid including Mahle but would have been fine with Stephenson.

        Heard them discussing park factors regarding the Yelich move. As a lefty he’s going to get a huge boost from moving from the Marlins stadium to the Brewers. Would have had that same boost in Cincy. Lost opportunity, seems like it’s a common theme.

    • eric3287

      I wouldn’t have traded Senzel, but I absolutely would have traded Greene. With Greene, you’re looking at 3 years minimum before he pitches 100 innings in the major leagues, probably 4, and 5-6 before he can contribute. Votto will be pushing 40. Suarez will be a free agent. Winker will be closing in on free agency; Senzel will be into arbitration. And all the young arms we are looking to have success this year will have flamed out or be nearing free agency as well.

      Point is, there is no way to know WHAT this team will look like in 5 years. There is, however, a way to know what this team might look like in 2019. And with Yelich, the improvement of Winker and Senzel and the young pitching, it’s a team absolutely could compete.

  5. daytonnati

    Indy – your comment reminded me of the old saying “the only thing worse than dying, is dying with money in the bank.” 🙂

  6. WVRedlegs

    Good sentiments.
    “But worst of all, I detest the feeling of waiting till next year before this year has officially started.”
    The trade for Yelch was not about 2018. It was all about 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022. Those are the trades you make no matter. Yelich would have been a cornerstone upon which to build this team. And the Reds really needed someone like that.
    Boy, that has been my bone of contention all winter. I wanted to hear about moves that would improve the team. I didn’t want to hear or see more of this flawed Standing Down-Standing Pat logic. The Standing Down this winter has been worse than the 3 preceding years. Only one really positive move has been made in this rebuild process since trading Latos and Simon before the 2015 season. And that was the Straily/Castillo trade. Maybe we can throw the Leake/Duvall trade in there too.
    The Reds have come up short on every trade they have made since 2015 in this rebuild, except for that one trade. The Frazier, Bruce, Chapman, Cueto, and Phillips trades, along with the non-trade of Cozart, brought the Reds a bevy of non-prospects and DL fillers. It cost a good starting pitcher to acquire Marlon Byrd in 2015 and then the Reds trade Byrd in August 2015 for a reliever that was cut and not on any Reds team roster.
    DeSclafani = DL 2 years running.
    Finnegan = DL.
    Reed = Can’t make the jump from AAA.
    Davis = DL.
    Herrera = DL, out of options.
    Peraza = a 2B playing SS.
    Schebler = A DH playing in a non-DH league.
    This has cost the rebuild dearly.
    Forget about waiting on the pitching to arrive. Improvements and upgrades were needed in the 5 of the 8 position player spots and the Reds have done absolutely nothing to improve in these areas. All 3 OF spots could use an upgrade along with SS an 2B. That is the biggest disappointment, not upgrading 2 of these 5 spots. Winker and Senzel will bring 2 upgrades, but at least a couple of more positions should have been looked into for upgrades.
    Come July, the starting pitching will be better than last year, but the offense will lag behind this year as a result of losing Cozart and no upgrades. And the Reds will be in last place again.
    The old adage is true, Actions speak louder than words. It is hard to get into a positive frame of mind when the Reds front office actions are basically nonexistent.
    Dick Williams is content to stand pat on a 90+ loss team 3 years running now. And that is very disappointing.

    • eric3287

      The one thing that all of those names on the list of players the Reds have traded for is that they were all “ML ready talent,” or at least players that could make a major league roster and not totally embarrass themselves.

      The Reds were desperate to give the impression the rebuild would be quick by trading for guys that were either marginally on 25 man rosters or in AAA. It’s why I can’t give them credit for a “win” for the Leake trade. Duvall was a throw-away they plucked because he could play in they needed someone they could throw in the outfield. Keury Mella was the guy the Reds were targeting there.

      The point being, the Reds have prioritized getting ML ready players in trades to try and get around the rebuilding process, and when they have a chance to trade a guy in Greene who may be productive 5 years from now for an All-Star OF, they balk. Incredibly disappointing.

      • greenmtred

        The problem–one of the problems–with this speculation is that we don’t know what the Marlins would have demanded for Yelich. More than Greene, surely. The object should be to build an organization which is always competitive and often in contention. That isn’t accomplished by trading multiple top prospects for one established player.

    • ericreedjrgmailcom

      Bravo. I’ve said over and over again that we keep going to the market and coming home with bags of magic beans.

  7. scottya

    Agree, well written article. I have enjoyed keeping up with the minor leagues performance during this “rebuild” and will continue to. This is still going to take time to develop the young pitchers. You describe the risks of trading too soon very well.

    I agree that the prospects that would have been required to get Yelich would have been too much; approximately; Greene, Trammell, Long and J. Lopez

    If all starters all healthy there is sort of a catch-22.

    1. Castillo
    2. Desclafani
    3. Finnegan
    4. Bailey
    5. Lorenzen

    Other starters have to develop at AAA that had opportunities last year at the MLB level, if all are healthy. That is a big if, but it is best for the rebuild if they are so we can maybe trade some of them, instead of just losing them to injury.

    • larry

      I’m a little surprised by your five starters. I would prefer:
      1. Castillo
      2. Desclafani
      3. bailey
      4. Garret
      5. Mahle
      That leaves us with Stevenson, Ramona and Lorenzen when innings limitation and/or injuries occur. I think Finnegan would be an excellent reliever, and with his recent injury, starting may put too much stress on his arm and shoulder.
      I agree that the rumored trade for Yelich, if your prospects to get him are correct, is too great a price to give up for him.

      • Indy Red Man

        No Bob Steve for either one of you? Castillo, Disco, Stephenson, Mahle, and Homer. Finnegan in a swing role like Montgomery for the Cubs last year. I’m also solidly behind Lorenzen as a starter. I think it suits him better.

        Jim stated this last week somewhere on here, but pinpoint a guy or 2 that you can live without and fill some holes! Along with their 8th ranked farm system or whatever it is. I guess you could say that they need to find out about Disco and Finnegan’s health, but if they check out then move Lorenzen, Romano, whoever for a veteran buy youngish power arm in the pen. Everyone is going to the Houston & Yankee model now with modern nasty boys. Or a SS if Peraza falters? Do something?

      • scottya

        I hope Bob Steve grabs the bull by the horns in spring training and takes one of the spots. But I think he will get a spot only if there is injuries and he will pitch just ok in spring training. We’ll see.

      • scottya

        I was making the point that this is a possibility and causes a dilemma. I think if all are healthy the rotation should be:

        1. Castillo
        2. Desclafani
        3. Bailey
        4. Finnegan
        5. Romano


        1. Mahle
        2. Stephenson
        3. Reed
        4. Stephens
        5. Garrett

      • Reaganspad

        Romano needs AAA more than Stephenson does to start the year

      • azkurgan

        Ramona? This is what happens, Larry…

      • The Duke

        Bob Steve in his last 10 appearances in 2017:

        51.1 IP
        52 K
        2.51 ERA
        1.27 WHIP

        I don’t know why people are seeing him as a long shot. He’s my top candidate for the #5 spot on the rare chance Disco, Finny, and Bailey are all healthy.

      • WVRedlegs

        Many people are forgetting that. I haven’t been a big Robert Stephenson fan at all, but if he truly has turned a corner, that will be huge for the Reds.
        He got married over the winter so maybe that helps settle him down.

    • Jim Walker

      I believe that barring injury when all is said and done Bob Stephenson is going to be the best pitcher of the Reds current home grown group. I just hope it happens with the Reds or that they get valuable return if they trade him.

      • lwblogger2

        I think it will be Castillo… I don’t see the ceiling in Stephenson that I used to see. That said, if he can maintain even a slightly worse than average BB%, then I could see him being a very nice #3 kind of starter. That has a lot of value.

      • jazzmanbbfan

        LW: Castillo wasn’t home grown (if that’s what Jim means). He was acquired in trade. I think Castillo will, barring injury, be the best of the bunch regardless of how he was acquired.

      • Jim Walker

        Yes. by homegrown, I meant to infer drafted and totally developed within the Reds system.

        I also agree most likely Castillo overall. However, I see two things in common with Stephenson and Castillo that I don’t see yet from the others. Both seem to have one or more pitches that miss bats; and, both seem to be able to elevate their game when in tough situations.

  8. Reaganspad

    Great article Jim.

    Dilson Herera fits that bill as well as someone we traded for who has not had the chance to strut his stuff yet.

    And we are not yet sure what Schebler, Duvall and Peraza are yet. Many have them as trade fodder, but they just may be slow developers. Those 3 take a step forward this year and this gets really interesting.

    Devin Mesoraco is another that if he has a healthy year, it will be really interesting for the team

    • jazzmanbbfan

      What don’t we know about Duvall, or can at least make an educated guess about? He has better first than second halves, the speculation on here is that it is due to him wearing down secondary to diabetes and more rest would bring different results. I guess in that respect maybe we aren’t sure but I feel relatively confident that what we see from Duvall is what we will get: better defense than originally advertized, decent power, low OBP. I saw, either on this site or somewhere, that Duvall and Randal Grichuk, who the Cardinals just traded to Toronto, are pretty much the same player.

      I think Schebler and Peraza are still unclear, particularly Peraza.

    • sezwhom

      Not sure yet about Duvall? What don’t you know?

      • Reaganspad

        Can he hit 280 with 500 or fewer abs?

        Sounds like Price will limit him this year. So, when he does not drop off drastically in the second half, platoons properly and still provides GG defense, does his value go UP?

        That is what we do not know

      • MrRed

        His value can’t go up if we’ve established that he’s not a full time player. Still valuable info, but the Reds need to come to some conclusions on Duvall’s future with the team this year (if they haven’t already) because they have several other players that could be alternatives to fill the spot.

      • sixpacktwo

        A rest once in a while against a tough RH does not make you a non full time player. His second half may improve.

  9. kmartin

    Jim, the off season could have been worse. At least the Reds did not sign a veteran “innings eating” starting pitcher.

    • lwblogger2

      I kind of fear that’s the Vance Worley role this year.

    • Ernie Howerton

      The dreaded innings eater,I’m so sick of that term.Is this another 90 loss season?

  10. Andy

    I want the Reds to be serious about sorting pitching this year. That means there are eight… EIGHT… starting pitchers that need serious innings at MLB level to see who makes the cut next year. Seeing these guys in Louisville again will not help, and based on options may not even be possible. Here’s my idea:
    Castillo every 5th day
    Bailey every 5th day
    Slots 3-5 will be “paired starters.” Each should prepare to pitch 4-5 innings. Each should be considered unavailable except for designated day. Starter determined at coach’s discretion, could be L/R tendancy of opponent or recent performance trends. “Starter A” gets between 1 and 5 innings based on performance, “starter B” takes over at discretion of manager, hopefully in 5th or 6th inning if everything going well. “Starter B” may finish game or possibly hand off to my closer pair of Lorenzen/Iglesias, whichever is fresh that day.
    Slot 3: Desclafani + Finnegan
    Slot 4: Mahle + Garrett, see above.
    Slot 5: Stephenson + Romano. Both righties but these guys get the nod over Reed.
    With 8 starters, we won’t have many bullpen slots.. but on days 3-5 of rotation the bullpen should only be really used for the 9th inning if at all.

    After about 10 times through rotation, it’s reasonable to start adjusting innings based on performance. If anyone is clearly underperforming, they may be demoted to bullpen or AAA and slots 3 and 4 can be awarded to those succeeding, leaving 1 remaining paired slot to “continue sorting” later into season.

    It will be hard to maintain this, but I think it will be valuable to see 40-50 innings from these guys, against MLB hitters, before we decide who earns rotation spots. If Desclafani and Finnegan are awarded slots 3 and 4 out of spring training, there will be no way to evaluate the young guys in extended appearances. Reds will need to resist urge to pinch hit for the “second starter” until at least 8th inning… they can use pinch hitters or double switches in 4th/5th innings to limit pitcher at-bats.

  11. Sliotar

    Good piece, Jim.

    I would raise the point that the Reds are not in the same situation as the Brewers or Cardinals. Not at all.

    Wins in 2017
    Brewers – 86
    Cardiinals – 83
    Reds – 68

    Christian Yelich adding 4 victories of WAR isn’t going to bridge the gap. There is still a lot of improvement needed, and the Reds are unwilling to spend via free agency (at least for now) to help get there.

    The number one thing this the Reds can do, as Jim mentioned, is raise their win total by committing to and developing a starting pitching staff.

    And, trading off those who don’t make the cut.

    This “rebuild” will not likely be copied by other MLB teams, most of whom appear to prefer the Cubs model of “draft high-ceiling position players, buy the SP when the win curve states you should go for it.”

    • scottya

      One reason the draft high ceiling position players and buy the SP when the win curve dictates is Tommy John Surgery and other pitcher injures.

      Also in a rebuild; if early on you trade for SP and they end up getting injured, it slows and diminishes the rebuild. See Desclafani and Lorenzen and Finnegan and Lamb for example.

    • Indy Red Man

      It doesn’t matter now but give me Yelich in CF. 500 atbats apiece for Senzel (3B) and Winker. Move Suarez back to SS. A youngish closer in waiting for prospects and/or Schebler and that team is better then Milw imo. Better then St Louis or the Cubs? No…but atleast we wouldn’t be buried alive like we are now. Having to face Ozuna and Yelich in division is just back breaking. I doubt the Brewers are done either.

    • davy13

      Agreed about Jim’s piece – well done. Sliotar, you make a very good case too.

      My take is that Yelich is not just a player to get to win now like a older veteran player (Votto for example), but at his age, he is young enough (26) to get to win later. In other words, he is a pillar piece. The team needs a few of those soon because of Votto’s age (Votto = a cornerstone). So Yelich would have been a good addition to have by the time the young pitching comes around, and Votto declines and retires.

      Glad that the Reds have build a good and deep farm system. It is so deep that not every solid prospect will make it to MLB. This includes top prospects that in the end fail to make it past potential to actual star status. Trades are risky, granted. But making a trade for Yelich would have been a low risk-high return/reward in short-term and for the future. Giving up a top prospect that is MLB ready (or very close to it) like Senzel, Winkler or Mahle would have been too rich too give up.

      I’s just disappointed that this was a real good opportunity missed by the club.

      • sixpacktwo

        Yes I agree, but I would have went after Yelich with Green as the center piece but depending on the other pieces It may have been a stopper. .

  12. Colorado Red

    I agree with the Reds on this one.
    I would not give up Nick or Hunter.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      Agreed. If Dick Williams believes those two are going to be difference-makers (and all indications are that he does), then it would be a bad move to trade 6 (or 12, if both) years of potential difference-making at the major league level for anything less than a pitching ace or all-star everyday player. Yelich is a very attractive asset, but not yet at that level.

      It will be very interesting to see how this season goes for the Brewers. Their ace, Jimmy Nelson, had labrum surgery and is not expected back until at least mid-season. The only starters that appear to have locked up rotation spots at this point are Chase Anderson (12-4, 2.74), Zach Davies (17-9, 3.90) and Jhoulys Chacin (13-10, 3.89 for Padres). Spots four and five in the rotation are a free-for-all, much like the Reds have experienced for the past several years. The Brew Crew has a terrific outfield, but if the injury bug hits the pitching staff, all bets are off.

      • Redlegs64

        Fact: We all want to be done with rebuild. The players know it, the coaches know it and the FO knows it.

        Problem: The FO/manager are inconsistent in their actions/message.

        We have two ways to build a contender; 1) trade “hot” ML players & from your farm system aggressively or 2) build organically (take your lumps and let the young guys play). We did neither in 2017.

        2017 raised as many questions as it answered. Early winning derailed the sorting effort in a major way. By early June the GM should have pulled the plug and said “Let the young guys play every day. We may lose 100 games but these young guys are going to grow!” The manager, managing for his job, kept trotting out the veterans.

        We didn’t trade any of the “hot” players during the 2017 season and we seem unwilling to trade from the farm in the off-season.

        This is the fan’s dilemma.

        The most obvious example was Jesse Winker. The kid had done everything he could at the minor league level. He needed to play every day so he could learn to become a ML contributor (there was plenty of opportunity with an OF that struggled in the second half of the year). Now we enter 2018 not really sure if Jesse’s a building block and he didn’t gain as much experience as he could have.

        The same can be said for Robert Stephenson & Cody Reed. Bury them in the bullpen behind recycled veterans to start the year, then get upset when they don’t show control/command. Then, demote them to AAA so they can re-learn how to pitch (I was puzzled when Price called in BobSteve to face Troy Tulowizki in Toronto with the bases juiced – that’s a tough spot for a seasoned veteran, much less a rookie that gets used irregularly).

        I’m of the opinion that 2018 will bring about more sorting with slightly improved results (~75 wins).

        Given the fact that we didn’t make any off-season moves, it signals that the FO believes in the farm system/”organic rebuild” and we are “standing pat.” This same approach needs to be executed at the ML level. For 2018/2019, this means a visible commitment to the young players.

  13. Kap

    This needs to be the year when they decide what to do with Billy Hamilton. The Reds can’t expect him to “figure it out” again next year as his salary continues to climb. By next off season, Siri and Trammell will still be a year or two away. Either Billy figures out how to hit consistently or we trade or non tender him. The team can’t afford to keep him around if he continues to be a liability at the plate.

    My idea, as I mentioned in an earlier post, is to trade for Kiermaier. Not the hitter Yelich is, but had a higher WAR (5.1) than Yelich did (3.8). Won’t cost as much in terms of prospects either. The Rays are bound for a rebuild and Kiermaier could be ripe for the taking

    • Indy Red Man

      Back to back Gold Gloves and a higher ops vs righties then Yelich plus he’s locked for 6 more years at only 60 mil. He’s a Hoosier and I’m sure he’d love to get off turf and hit in GABP instead of that funeral parlor, but they have no reason to move him and every reason to keep him.

      • Kap

        For now. If they end up trading Archer and Colome, they will wanting to enter a rebuild in order to compete in the AL East in the future. It will cost the Reds a decent amount of prospects, but not nearly as much as want the Brewers gave up for Yelich.

    • Joe McManus

      I also love the idea of Kiermaier, but I don’t believe he’d cost less than Yelich in prospects.I think the Rays are also aware of his immense talent, hence his contract.

      • Kap

        I don’t think it would. Yelich has far more superior offensive numbers. Kiermaier is a decent hitter and not as good as yelich, but much more valuable than Hamilton. He could (for what I think) be acquired without parting with Greene or Senzel, unlike Yelich. It may cost the Reds Trammell, but they would have the already proven Kiermaier in center for years to come.

      • Joe McManus

        Kiermaier’s prowess in the outfield more than makes up for any offensive disparity between the two players. He’s better defensively than Billy in center; he’s already above average offensively with room for improvement. I think their values are very similar. I’d love to have either, but not at the expense of Senzel, or Greene plus Trammel.

      • Joe McManus

        If you can get them to lay off Greene and Senzel, I would be interested. I love Trammell, but you’re right; Kiermaier in CF on opening day would be fantastic.

  14. WVRedlegs

    The Brewers scooped up one of the better remaining relievers left on the free agent market, Matt Albers. He signed a 2 year/ $5MM deal with $1MM in incentives each year. The Reds were looking at him, and his deal was affordable.
    Maybe the Reds are in on David Hernandez instead. They could use more bullpen help that doesn’t come from minor league signings with ST invites.

    • Michael E

      At that price, I wish the Reds had signed Albers. He is very good RP. Then again, not every player wants to sign with a team not fully invested in improving.

  15. Scott Carter

    I agree with you Jim. I have been through a lot of up and downs with the Reds over the last 50+ years. And these last few have been bad but not near as bad as the years before Castelinni bought the club. I did not like Walt Jockey as a GM and I think Williams is going to do a lot better job but there still needs to be some sorting of the pitching and I think there is some great potential there.
    My biggest beef right now with the Reds FO is 1) the rehiring or extension on Price, I know he has had a lot of injuries he has had to deal with but he has totally botched some things that were directly under his control. (Staying with Arroyo, not playing Winker, batting Hamilton and Peraza at the top of the order. And who knows how much that has hurt their development),
    I have no issue with missing out on Yelich, by all accounts and by what the Brewers gave up for him, the price was too high. I do have an issue with them not signing Cain as a free agent. I believe they could have afforded that contract and it would cover the so called window of opportunity if the Reds really are ready to contend in 2019 or 2020.
    Of course it is easy to play with someone else’s money. I think you gave us impatient Reds fans some much needed balance.

    • Jack

      The Cain signing will haunt them. 5 year contract to a 31 yr old. Not good.

      • scottya

        I agree. The Brewers need to add a couple more really good starters to be a playoff team. I think they played way over there talent level last year.

  16. Indy Red Man

    What about SS Marcus Semien from Oakland? I think his offensive game is coming around. He had 27 HRs in 2016 and had a .746 ops as a leadoff hitter last year. Oakland has 2 miles of foul territory…he might like GABP. He could likely hit 25 HRs and his obp is improving. 30 Ks /16 walks as a leadoff hitter. He’s 27 so he’s right in his prime. If they Duvall/Schebler 6th and Semien 7th then that’s a pretty good lineup!

  17. Jim Walker

    Here’s another point that occured to me. Maybe it wasn’t giving up Senzel which was a bridge too far for the Reds. Maybe it was the total package cost. Folks have any thoughts on this?

    • andy

      Nah… I bet the Reds wouldn’t have traded Senzel for Yelich straight up. Reds think he will provide the same type of value (and hope for more) as Yelich. The risk is that he doesn’t live up to the hype, but it comes with massive upside that he will only cost ~2million over next 4 years. With Yelich, the production is proven, but 4 year cost (guessing so I don’t have to look up is ~$40million. Team friendly compared to free agents, but not compared to Senzel.

      • Jim Walker

        Yelich is under team control thru 2022 at a total cost of $58.25M (last year team on option). Should he go south, he could be bought out after 4 years with outlay having been $44.75M for those 4 years.

  18. Indy Red Man

    I took a little time to look at OF Lewis Brinson that was the centerpiece of the guys going back to Miami for Yelich.

    2016 AA Frisco (Texas League) .711 ops
    AAA PCL Colorado Springs 1.005 ops

    2017 Colorado Springs PCL .962
    Brewers 5 for 47 .513 ops

    Maybe he’ll be an AS, but the PCL makes guys like Dilson Herrera look like the 2nd coming of Juan Samuel. I don’t think the Fish got that much at all. A ton of athletic guys that don’t pan out in the big leagues. Senzel will be 3x the hitter imo!

    • Michael E

      Agree on the PCL making solid look really good. Lewis is no sure thing, but by all accounts he has all the tools to be an all-star. It’s risky betting on prospects, but you have to have some if you want to have a contender that isn’t averaging $15 million per position in salary.

  19. vegastypo

    I’m not buying any of what the front office is selling. Didn’t Williams indicate that the targeted year to compete was 2019? If so, shouldn’t we be adding players NOW who will be a part of that mix? …. To believe that another year of sorting will tell us where each player stands is ludicrous. After all, how did that go in 2016 and 2017? … And even if the Reds do get a read on many of their question mark players, suddenly the front office would be able to magically fill every hole with free agency and trades in time for 2019?

    The whole idea is that if you had brought in Yelich — and yes, you have to give up value to GET value — you at least would have one more spot filled for the foreseeable future, added to Suarez and Votto and Barnhart, and Senzel, we hope. Maybe Winker, too, but I sure wish he would have received more playing time toward the end of last season. Opportunity wasted. … At any rate, if Yelich wasn’t worth an overpay, so be it. But I’m having a hard time believing that a franchise preaching it wants to contend in two years couldn’t be adding valuable parts along the way, rather than waving a magic wand and having it come together almost all at once.

    This franchise is not pointed to 2019.

    • Jim Walker

      I agree. 2020 at the earliest it looks like to me. I found it hard to believe when I saw DW quoted as saying on the caravan that he did not sense impatience growing amount the fans.

      Depending on how they manage Senzel’s arrival at MLB, whether he is milked for the extra year of control, is a simple super 2 or neither, if he impacts anything like Kris Bryant, during his years of team control he will end up making very nearly what Yelich will over the next year 5 years. So I tend to believe if they were serious about 2019, they might have hung in for the bird on the hand, Yelich; and, at the least they would be making other positioning moves now.

      • daytonnati

        But where does Senzel play? Does he become a Ben Zobrist and spell Suarez, Duvall, and 2nd base?

    • old-school

      I really find any notion of waiting till 2020 unacceptable abd gives merit to the Boras diatribe argument a few days ago. Any player who won’t play with Joey votto more than a year is trade-able. I would trade green simply because joey Votto can’t sustain his 5-6WAR greatness past 2020…..and the reds can’t win without him.
      What if Suarez plays out this year and has another 4 WAR season with Reds asleep at the wheel…..he then becomes a trade candidate to maximize his return before he is gone to FA and the vicious cycle continues. . It’s 2019 or bust.

  20. Smokey the Husky

    Hunter Greene pitched 4.1 innings last year for his team. He more than likely will not pitch more than 80-90 IP’s this year. That puts him on schedule for about 115 IP’s in 2019, 140 IP’s in 2020, and 170 IP’s in 2021. They won’t have him pitch a full season until 2021. That is, if he stays healthy.
    The Reds could have, and should have, traded that for 5 prime years of Christian Yelich. Yelich would have been a cornerstone to build upon now. Yelich would have also allowed the Reds to ease Senzel into the lineup at their choosing in 2018. Greene, maybe someday he will become a cornerstone. And maybe he won’t.
    Brewers state very loudly they are running with the big dogs for next several years. Reds meekly state they will sit on the porch and bark for at least 2 more years. Reds are going with lap dogs when big dogs get you to the pennant.

    • Aaron Bradley

      Meanwhile at the time the market was flooded with outfielders, what were the Reds supposed to do with an abundance of outfielders after selling the farm for Yelich. Like I have said, I like Yelich, but these boards have some kind of love affair with the kid that defies explanation. How much difference can he make? The weakness is at SS where we don’t know if Peraza will perform… Scooter can’t hit lefties… meanswhile the bullpen was the weakest area by far, and the rotation is suspect. Face it this organization want to get out of Bailey and Mesoroco contracts before committing more money and Yelich is another 10M per year in payroll which they don’t seem eager to shell out at this juncture. Is it good business sense, probably not, but they have been predictable in that respect, this team has tight purse strings and to expect them to give up a package of super prospects to take on payroll for an outfield that is already crowded? Delusional. Sure it could have happened, but only one team in the league took the shot, and they also now have a crowded outfield. I bet the Brewers don’t make the playoffs, or don’t go far, with that pitching staff. Then they may go to LENGTHY rebuild themselves.

      • WVRedlegs

        That crowded Brewer OF is going to get them better pitching. And as you say, at a time the market is flooded with OFers. Cleveland may need an OF. Colorado may need an OF. Baltimore needs an OF. Seattle needs a power hitting OF. Boston may need a power hitting OF. Minnesota could use a power hitting OF. Arizona may need an OF. Texas might need an OF.
        The Cardinals traded an OF for a backend of the bullpen stud. And the Reds are doing nothing with an extra OF that may have been better than the Cardinals OF they traded. The Cardinals act, the Reds do nothing. The Reds sure could have used that bullpen stud the Cardinals got.
        That would have been Yelich in the Reds OF and a Reds OF traded to Toronto for a stud reliever. That certainly makes the Reds a better team in 2018.
        But the Cardinals, they get Ozuna for their OF and trade an OF and get that stud reliever.
        Cardinals get better. Reds sit on hands standing pat, do not get better.
        How else can you slice that and spin that positively?

      • lwblogger2

        Maybe the Jays didn’t want Duvall? Maybe the 2nd-half swoons scared them off? Maybe the 3 years of age difference was too much? It’s hard to know what the front office tries. It seems Williams, like Jocketty before him, keeps such things pretty quiet.

        Of course a lot of folks may be right and the Reds maybe aren’t trying to make moves. We could also be wrong though and the Reds are trying and failing to make moves, for whatever reason. What can’t be argued is the Reds still have 4 OF for 3 spots. I think, ideally, Duvall and Schebler platoon in RF with Winker in LF. Unfortunately, the Reds don’t seem to like L/R platoons and maybe the small sample of Schebler’s platoon split last year is scaring them off from doing something like that. Who knows really. I can’t figure out what this front-office is doing.

  21. Jeff Reed

    A good article to get us fans focused on the upcoming season. Your last sentence sums it up for me. That’s to much like the old song we used to hear of long suffering Brooklyn Dodger fans. On the positive side the Reds offense has developed nicely over the past couple years, so it’s the development of the young pitching and the absence of the injury bug for the mature pitchers that are the question marks. The only sure thing, it seems to me, regarding the Reds pitching staff are Castillo and Iglesias. Everything else will become evident starting with spring training in this last year of the rebuild.

    • Aaron Bradley

      Castillo is pretty young to call him a sure thing. He looks very promising. Keep your fingers crossed.

  22. Gene McLean

    The worst off season in history of the game’s oldest professional team. Period. Do nothing. Get nothing.

    • Chad Dotson

      They signed a 32-year old relief pitcher who has been cut by two other teams in the division. What more do you want?

      • Kap

        When you put it like that, it sounds as if we got a steal…

  23. Timmy RedLeg

    I wouldn’t mind if they just announced the team would be wearing new Sunday night road uniforms this season. Do something, so that the rest of the world knows that The Cincinnati Reds exist. Sheeez!

  24. scotly50

    Maybe the Reds management is not confident in this teams ability to compete even in the next couple of years. With Yelich locked in to 2022, maybe Williams, et al., do not think this team can compete until 2020 or beyond. That is the only reason I see them not wanting to give up some Bush Leaguers for him in trade.

  25. Walt S.

    I love the Reds offseason. They need to tank one more season. Yellich would not help them at all.

    • Chad Dotson

      Except that he’s cheap and he’s under team control for five seasons. So even if you don’t think Yelich helps them in 2018, what about 2019, 2020, 2021, or 2022?

      • Walt S.

        I am not giving up Greene for anyone. He was a great draft pick and a future superstar.

      • Aaron Bradley

        Exactly, people have staked their careers and reputations by drafting him… that’s what a front office does… they don’t draft a guy to deal him for a guy with a ceiling of near-all star level which is what Yellich is. He is a very nice player gives you good bang for the buck by providing a lot of undervalued numbers, but come on be real, Greene was signed with a ton of hoopla, I see articled on about him all the time and he threw 4 friggin innings so far. Everyone loves this kid and he is ours and you want to deal him in some kind of moneyball experiment to prove the value of OBP and WAR? I mean I get it, I do, but I’d rather develop or find our own guys that can do this and sign them to a good long term deal then trade for one and give up this super prospect in Greene before even giving him a cup of coffee. And btw he reads this blog and already has said what he thinks of you guys who sell him short. He fells he needs a voodo cure to overcome your negativity.

      • Ken

        So was Brandon Larson and Robert Stephenson. Sure fire picks. Superstars.

      • greenmtred

        Stephenson may yet turn out to be a star.

  26. Walt S.

    Why should the reds spend money if they are going to lose anyway? I’m fine waiting until 2020

    • old-school

      Are you an investor in the club? how does the Reds spending $85 million in payroll this year instead of 120 million help anything? They are raking in revenue. Tanking to just tank for 5 years in a row is corporate arrogance. Charging higher ticket prices and absurd concessions and parking fees and making a profit without investing in the club is a 5 year plan to alienating public fan forever. News Flash- demographics for baseball don’t look great. I understand investment in player development and Latin America and improving resources for nutrition/minor leagues is important…..but the MLB product can never be compromised. Your statements are exhibit A in Scott Boras’ collusion lawsuit.

      • Jim Walker

        The writing is on the wall for tanking. Several national writers seem to be taking aim at it all at once. It is just a matter of how long it takes for critical mass to be reached.

      • Walt S.

        The reds are not raking in money due to the bad attendance even in the winning seasons. I favor tanking for another season.

      • lwblogger2

        This has been discussed at length various places but the Reds are getting somewhere between $50-million and $85-million this year due to the sale of MLBAM. Then there is the national TV contract, which provides them somewhere in the neighborhood of another $30-million in revenue this year. Plus their local TV contract which pays them an undisclosed sum. That’s all before one butt hits a seat at GABP. Yes, attendance revenue matters (to the tune of an estimated $30-50/fan) and it matters greatly. That said, the Reds can likely afford to spend more than they currently spend based on other revenue streams.

      • Michael E

        They have dramatically increased behind-the-scenes spending, farm system coaching, training, nutrition, etc. Maybe they did bump spending, but just not on the payroll?

        I think the $100 million number sets up a natural freeze for some owners. The thinking is probably once Mesoraco falls off the books and only one year left for Bailey that Bob may open up for a big FA signing.

        It makes alot of sense to wait till next year given the pitching staff is hardly a known commodity. Tons of young pitchers that need another year. By next year, the pitching may well be a strong point and they can go after a top, young SS or CF (or a very good SP).

  27. Ron Payne

    4 trades I would like to see.
    1) Billy Hamilton to Texas for INF Jurickson Profar.
    2) Scott Schebler, Scooter Gennett and Robert Stephenson to Detroit for RF Nick Castellanos.
    3) Hunter Greene and Adam Duvall to LA Dodgers for CF Alex Verdugo and OF Andrew Toles.
    4) Eugenio Suarez, Taylor Trammell and Shed Long to Tampa Bay for LHP Blake Snell and SS Willy Adames.

    LF Jesse Winker
    3B Nick Senzel
    1B Joey Votto
    RF Nick Castellanos
    CF Alex Verdugo
    SS Willy Adames
    C Tucker Barnhart
    2B Jose Peraza

    C Devin Mesoraco
    INF Alex Blandino
    INF Jurickson Profar
    OF Andrew Roles
    OF Phillip Nevin

    RH Louis Castillo
    RH Homer Bailey
    LH Blake Snell
    RH Tyler Mahle
    LH Amir Garrett

  28. Scooter Rolen

    Interesting article now on about Adam Duvall. Apparently he has been losing around 10 pounds by the second half of the season and I assume this is out of the ordinary in regards to MLB players. Duvall talks about how he is working to keep his weight steady throughout the season.

    Another interesting note is that the article states that Price is planning on using a 4-man platoon system to give Winker more playing time.

    A nice read with some useful statistics. Hopefully Duvall can become more consistent in 2018 and avoid a 2nd half dropoff.

    • Jim Walker

      Thanks. This was interesting both from the personal take of AD and Price’s talk of an outfield rotation.

  29. jreis

    the reds have all the pieces for a really good team either up in the big leagues now or in the farm system. I still think we are a few years away but I don’t think it is necessary to make any major moves now.

    their only weakness really is shortstop and we actually have the answer in Hunter Greene. not sure why everyone on rln wants him to be a pitcher.? way too good of an athlete.

    • greenmtred

      What percentage of the general population is capable of pitching well in MLB? I think that your implied definition of “athletic” is limiting.

      • jreis

        from all accounts, and I haven’t seen him play, but people say he is the best athlete the reds have ever drafted since eric davis. if this is true, he needs to be in the lineup everyday making plays. not pitching every 5th day.

      • Jim Walker

        Taylor Trammell, for one at least, might beg to differ with you on the “best athlete” part.

      • Indy Red Man

        Anyone else remember the time Lorenzen pinch-ran and scored from 1st on a double? They said on FSN that he was .02 of a second slower then Billy. Of course he’s prob 20 lbs heavier now, but he was 30+ lbs bigger then Billy then

      • greenmtred

        I take your point, but I think you underestimate how important a dominant startiong pitcher can be and how few of them there are.

      • Michael E

        and how crazy important one is come playoff time. You go to playoffs with so-so SP1 and SP2, you’re bounced before you can open your eyes.

      • Michael E

        By all accounts, he could be a good SS, but much less polished there. By all accounts, he could be a top 5 MLB ace. I’ll take the SP upside.

        That said, one little arm injury and he may be playing every day. That or a Rick Ankiel meltdown.

    • jazzmanbbfan

      The people who count, and allegedly know something about baseball, have agreed that Greene’s future is as a pitcher, not a SS.

      • lwblogger2

        I’ll add that SS could even be a fall-back option should either he struggle as a pitcher or he gets injured as a pitcher. Easier to come back as a position player if it’s arm-related. I think the Reds are right to try him on the mound first.

  30. Reds fan in Cali

    Yelich would have been a perfect fit because he can hit and get on base!!… The current outfield is not getting it done with a .300 OBP across the board.. The Reds need OBP and AVG. at the top of the order to compete…

  31. big5ed

    The 1990 Reds made very few transactions, but improved by 16 games from 1989 to win the World Series. They picked up Randy Myers, but lost John Franco. They did trade pitcher Tim Leary (2-7, 3.71 over 14 starts) to the Yankees for a 25-year-old Hal Morris, who had gone 7-39 over two cups of coffee for the Yankees. Morris was excellent in 336 PAs for the Reds–maybe Jesse Winker?

    They also picked up a 29-year-old Billy Hatcher, who had slashed .231/.277/.308 (Billy Hamilton, anyone?) for the Astros and Pirates the previous year, for utility infielder Jeff Richardson and reliever Mike Roesler. None of these moves could have inspired great confidence in the fan base; the front office was likely thought to have stood pat off a bad 1989.

    Other than these moves, the Reds improved because young players got better. Jose Rijo blossomed in his age 24 season. Jack Armstrong came out of nowhere to start the All-Star game. Norm Charlton had his career season (and had 16 starts, a fact which is forgotten in Nasty Boys lore). Mariano Duncan, at age 27 in 1990, had been traded for in 1989, and had slashed .248/.284/.357 for LA/Cin in 1989 (Jose Peraza?), but had his career year in 1990 at .306/.345/.476.

    The Reds have a LOT of breakout candidates: Winker, Schebler, Peraza, Senzil, Saurez (to elite level). Luis Castillo has the best arm in the National League Central. Homer should be stable. There are 6-8 other good young arms that are close to being very good: Stephenson, Romano, Garrett, Mahle, etc. I expect the Reds to have a better staff than the Brewers.

    Will they be the 1990 Reds? Unlikely, but they are in far better shape than they’ve been in several years. A team doesn’t pick what year to compete; the year picks the team.

    • scotly50

      The Reds had a different Manager and GM in 1989 than in 1990. I see that as a major difference.

      • big5ed

        Pete Rose actually had a higher overall winning percentage as a manager than Lou Piniella. Both were .525 as Reds’ manager.

        The impact of managers is vastly overstated. Joe Torre was 406 games over .500 for the Yankees, when he had a roster full of Hall of Famers; he was 77 games below .500 for his other 4 teams, when he had rosters full of Desi Relafords. I get that many people on here don’t like Brian Price, but I also get that almost nobody on here has ever met the guy, or has any real feel for his human skills, or was privy to what general plan that Dick Williams had given him last year.

        For example, I tend to believe, but again it is only an educated guess, that the Reds made an organizational decision last year to give Billy Hamilton as many ABs as possible, as a final exam on what Hamilton can be. I believe it absurd to think that Price isn’t fully aware of Hamilton’s limitations, especially as a right-handed hitter. This year, when wins matter, I fully expect that Hamilton will sit against a lot of LH starters, and that if Hamilton ever leads off, it will be almost entirely against RH starters.

      • Kyle Farmer

        I take your point, but Torre’s Yankees teams had only 2 sure-bet HOFers – Jeter and Rivera.

      • big5ed

        True. There were some late-career HOFers like Wade Boggs, Tim Raines, and Roger Clemens,* plus guys like Pettitte, Bernie and Posada, who could be.

        Not many fillers like Ryan Ludwick or Chris Reitsma, either. Their fillers were guys like Tino Martinez, Scott Brosius, David Cone, Paul O’Neill, Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui.

      • lwblogger2

        Some more info on Hamilton’s R/L splits… First off, it was suggested 3-4 years ago that Hamilton perhaps give up batting RH and not give up batting LH. He’s a natural RH hitter. Since then, he’s shown to be a better hitter from the LH side. Interesting though is that the career split isn’t nearly as bad as his last-season sample. For his career it looks like this:

        vs RHP – .252/.309/.334 in 1608 PA
        vs LHP – .236/.267/.334 in 572 PA

        I’d tend to agree that he should sit against LHP. I don’t think the split last year is representative of his overall ability (or lack of ability) against LHP, but more of a 1-year apparition due to small sample size. Also, I’d wonder who plays CF when Hamilton is sitting? I don’t think Schebler’s split last year is representative of his true splits either.

    • VaRedsFan

      Very good post Big5Ed. Especially, a team doesn’t pick a year to compete. Anybody think the Twins picked 2017 to be a playoff year…even as they were trading away some of their assets?

  32. Indy Red Man

    The Nasty Boys discovered a way to make it a 6 inning game if we had the lead. Now every real contender has their own nasty boy bullpen while we just have Iggy.

    • big5ed

      In looking over the pitching stats from last year, in a combined 193.1 IP, Arroyo and Adleman gave up a seemingly impossible 52 homers. In a combined 182 innings, Amir Garrett and Scott Feldman gave up 44 homers. In 69 starts over these 4 guys, Arroyo yielded a 1.016 OPS; Garrett, .937; Adleman, .872; and Feldman the Ace, a mere .820. And some of them even had some good starts, making the rest of the starts even more horrid.

      I think the bullpen last year eventually got overwhelmed with the torrent of bad starts, including a handful by Homer when he first came back. Homer, though, was pretty steady by September.

      I actually think Garrett can pitch. He got injured but didn’t want to admit it. I guess we will find out soon enough.

      • scottya

        Unbelievable stats from last years “innings eaters” or “gopher ball giver uppers.” If the starting pitching isn’t decimated by injuries again. I see the 2018 bullpen as being a big+.

        1. Iglesias
        2. Lorenzen and or Finnegan
        3. Peralta
        4. Hughes
        5. Shackelford
        6. Weiss
        7. Herget

      • VaRedsFan

        I wholeheartedly agree that Finnegan should be a key bullpen piece. I’d like to see him as the #2 guy behind Iggy.

      • Indy Red Man

        Lorenzen had a bad 2nd half and wants to start. Peralta faded as well. I just looked at Finnegan’s splits and only a .176 allowed as a reliever (2015-17) but only 91 at-bats. Romano maybe? The thing is I still like both of them as potential #3-4 starters! Overall as is…I could see a B- bullpen out of this group if Price wasn’t the manager.

    • VaRedsFan

      Exactly. When the Reds were winning games during the 1st half of last year, it was a strong performance by the bullpen that was was carrying them, despite the awful starters. A team with a strong bullpen as a catalyst to great teams in today’s baseball.

  33. Matt Mahaffey

    I’ll go ahead and add my take on the Reds organization:

    1) Maybe I’m the eternal optimist,but I dont think this team is THAT far from competing. I’m comparing the 2014 Astros who lost 100 games and how they built that into a World Series title just 3 years later. Mostly did it from within with a few FA acquisitions mixed in here and there, much like the Reds of today. Altuve, Springer, Correa, Keuchel, etc… were home grown building blocks. I see no reason, to an extent, that the Reds couldn’t do something like that also.

    2) However, as we are seeing, this organization is having a rough time developing some of their top talent for Major League readiness. Former 1st rounders not even close to being contributors (Tyler Stephenson for example). This gives some credibility to some of us that wouldnt mind seeing the Reds use some of these higher draft picks to get young controllable, solid players like a Christian Yelich. The Yankees of the 90’s and 2000’s used their farm system as trade chips. Sure, their farm system went to the shitter for awhile, but how many World Series did they get to and win? I’d say it was worth it.

    3) This is the best our farm system has been in a long time. Kudos to the front office and scouting department for that. Now its time to figure out the formula to get the most bang for our buck at the major league level. If we are truly in a rebuild mode, (which is hard to say that considering the historic offensive output they put up last year) you gotta see what some of the these highly touted guys can do every day. Jesse Winker must player regularly over Schebler in RF. He needs 500 AB’s this year, he’s proven at every level that he can hit. Gotta find a place for Nick Senzel to get regular AB’s. 3B? 2B? LF? Trouble is we have Suarez at his natural position, Gennett at his secondary position, and Duvall is LF. If I’m the GM, Im trying to unload Scooter. We have nothing invested in him as he was waiver claim. (Although he has become one of my fan favorites). I wish they would have been able to find a taker for Billy Hamilton. He is an elite base stealer, but you cant steal 1st base. He’s an elite defender, but in GABP I think that might be slightly overrated.

    4) As for pitching, face it, we are stuck with Bailey’s contract. He’s in the rotation.
    We’ve got to see what Disco can give us when/if healthy. I mean, he would have been the Opening Day starter probably twice by now if it werent for injury. I love, LOVE what I’ve seen out of Luis Castillo. He is still very raw, but have the makings of a very good front line type starter. There’s by 3 shoo – ins for the rotation. That’s where it gets tricky. Then you have the likes of Finnegan, Stephenson, Mahle, Romano, Garrett, etc… maybe even Lorenzen. Personally, I’m putting Finnegan in the bullpen and pair him with Peralta as a lights out LH duo. I liked what I saw out of Romano, Mahle, and Garrett (when healthy). I think you have got to make it an open competition. I’d really like to see Stephenson improve his off speed pitches and become a dependable 3/4 starter.

    5) I also believe that they need a new chief, new voice. How is a guy like Bryan Price still employed after back to back last place season when guys like Joe Girardi and Dusty Baker are getting the shit can just because they didnt make it to the World Series? I’m not sure if he’d be the right choice, but all this talk lately about Barry Larkin intrigues me alittle. Why not?

    So sorry for the long rant. Overall, it really is an exciting time to be a Reds fan. A lot of good young talent coming down the pipeline. Gotta find the right mix.

    • Indy Red Man

      Good write-up! I agree with you almost across the board. Its been a gloomy offseason with the Reds basically standing pat while St. Louis and Milw load up, but our guys do have a lot of young talent! No doubt about it! The only thing is that while Scooter/Cozart/Joey/Suarez/Winker etc really put up numbers…the offense was still only 14th in total runs. I’m tired of waiting on Billy and don’t know what Peraza has to keep them so invested in him? We really need a jolt with a Yelich in CF, but oh well.

      Other thing is…everyone seems to be penciling Finnegan into the pen, but he was really outstanding in the 2nd half of 2016 as a starter. A 2.93 era over 70 ip! Dan Straily worked with him on his change-up and he really got it together! A change-up is really more effective with messing with the hitters timing with a max effort guy like Finnegan! Same idea behind a guy with a easy delivery that throws hard. Its tougher to time up! If healthy…think he has a ceiling as high as anyone on the staff not named Castillo.

      • greenmtred

        Indy: You can say “only 14th in total runs,” or you can say “finished in the top half in all of baseball in total runs.” You can also say “one of the best defensive teams but was scuttled by pitching problems.”

      • Indy Red Man

        I said “only” because his opinion (and many others) was that our offense was outstanding last year and it wasn’t. 14th in total runs is barely average when you factor in Gabp. I know our defense is good but replacing Cozart with Peraza is pretty scary? They’re also trying to move Billy. I’m not necessarily trying to be a downer but that’s the way I see it.

      • greenmtred

        I agree that the defense will probably suffer, particularly if they move BH. My point wasn’t that the offense was great, just that it wasn’t the problem last year: the pitching was the problem.

  34. Tom Mitsoff

    Here’s another way to look at this:

    The Astros, Cubs and Royals are the recent examples of successful rebuilds that resulted in World Championships.

    During their rebuilds, the teams’ first-round draft picks included:

    Astros: George Springer, Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman
    Cubs: Javier Baez, Albert Almora, Kris Bryant
    Royals: Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer (and Brandon Finnegan!)

    Those players were key building blocks to those championship teams (with the exception of Finnegan, who was cited due to his Reds connection). It’s clear Dick Williams is using that roadmap, and he thinks he has at least two players — Hunter Greene and Nick Senzel — who could also fulfill their high-first-round expectations. If you believe your two top prospects can contribute to championship teams like the list above, you would not trade them.

    This is about “the plan” that in particular Houston used — including three straight 100-plus-loss seasons during the rebuild. I believe Williams is using that blueprint and does not mind another lousy season if it means helping to build to where Houston is now.

    I think we all would agree. The only caveat is that there is no guarantee that things will develop that way. Williams is hoping the roadmap created by Houston leads to the same destination.

  35. WVRedlegs

    Reds get a reliever on a major league contract. A 2 year deal for David Hernandez. Pretty good year, great first 4 months with Angels and so-so with D-backs after a trade.
    Doesn’t walk many. He needs to keep that up. The bullpen got a little bit better.

  36. Shchi Cossack

    Lots of discussion regarding the overpay for Yelich’s services by the Brew Crew. Quite frankly, the Old Cossack doesn’t see the overpay by the Brew Crew. Yelich is a solid .800 OPS/121 wRC+ & 3.0 WAR player with youth, durability, speed, affordable contract and capable of playing all three OF positions well.

    The Brewers traded:
    Lewis Brinson => (#18 BA/#27 MLB)
    Monte Harrison => (#75 BA/ #71 MLB)
    Isan Diaz => (NR BA/NR MLB)
    Jordan Yamamoto => (NR BA/NR MLB)

    The chances for any of the 4 prospects traded by the Brewers of achieving a career averaging 3.0 WAR/.800 OPS and 121/xRC+ is no better than 50/50. They are all unproven prospects.

    The issue really becomes could the Reds have swung an equitable trade for Yelich. Were the Fish holding up the Reds for more than they got from the Brew Crew because the Reds had better prospects to trade or did the Reds not match up as well for the positions the Fish were seeking to fill?

    Nick Senzel => (#7 BA/#7 MLB)
    Hunter Green => (#29 BA/#21 MLB)
    Taylor Trammell => (#48 BA/#42 MLB)
    Tyler Mahler => (#90 BA/#84 MLB)
    Jesse Winker => (#98 BA/#82 MLB)

    No question Nick Senzel would have beena non-starter for the Reds. Hunter Green might have been available but not in combination with Taylor Trammell as part of the deal. There were plenty of other options available for the Reds to try and pry Yelich from the Fish, including major league players who could immediately fill holes in the major league roster for the Fish, but DW couldn’t or wouldn’t pull the trigger. It’s water over the dam at this point.

    • Gonzo Reds

      Jim Bowden’s (remember him?) show on the fantasy sports radio network had an interview with Yelich last night. Hurt to listen to it. Bowden predicts Yelich will have 25 HRs and 25 SB’s this year…

      Water over the dam true but will hurt every time we face him this year.

      After the opening series there’s going to be a lot of empty seats this year. Most Reds fans aren’t stupid and know there’s no effort to put a winning team on the field at least this year and probably for several more to come. Will still root for my favorite team but not happy about how this rebuild is being handled.

      • Indy Red Man

        Neither one is as good as Yelich offensively, but CF Kevin Kiermaier or SS Marcus Siemien could be 20/20 guys and really improve the offense if the Reds could ever pull something off? KK in particular! He’s rated as the #1 CF in baseball and might love to get off turf.